Paul Cassell maintains that de-policing was a major cause of the spike in violent crime many American cities experienced during the summer of 2020. While plausible, Professor Cassell’s argument is unconvincing because it fails to explain why de-policing did not produce a rise in property crime, and it overstates the impact of policing on crime. Nor does he present evidence of a drop in police presence and activity large enough to produce such a huge increase in violence. Professor Cassell’s criticism of the argument that diminished police legitimacy caused the violence spike is more persuasive. He and I agree that the explanation for the spike lies somewhere in the nexus between the police and the disadvantaged communities they serve more or less effectively.

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